GAY MARRIAGE: State GOP Chairman Alex Mooney issued an “action alert” listing the names and numbers of nine senators he suggests are key to whether Maryland legalizes marriages between gay couples, writes the Post’s John Wagner. Scroll on down and give em a call! Heading into floor debate on the same sex marriage bill, Wagner offers a tally of who stands where in the Senate.
O’DONNELL INTERVIEW: In a video interview with Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com and Bryan Sears of Patch.com, House Republican Leader Tony O’Donnell talks about his objections to gay marriage, federal health care implementation and new taxes.
MARC BID & THE HOLOCAUST: Bills in the House of Delegates and Senate could require a French railway firm to make extensive disclosures of records chronicling its role in the transport Jews and others to Nazi death camps before its subsidiary can bid on the contract to operate two of the state’s three MARC commuter lines, Michael Dresser reports for the Sun.
The Maryland legislation is part of a national effort started in 2000 to extract disclosure and reparations from the French firm, writes Nick Sohr for the Daily Record.
WHAT DIRECTION? At midpoint of the 90-day session, writes the Post’s Aaron Davis, and the direction that the state General Assembly is heading remains wide open.
TRANSPORT FUND: O’Malley, who has drawn criticism for using transportation dollars to plug budget holes as traffic problems worsen, said Friday he could support a revenue package to help revive Maryland’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund, according to an AP report in the Annapolis Capital.
MVA VOTER FAIL: Annie Linskey of the Sun reports that one-fourth of Marylanders who have tried to register to vote at an MVA office in the past four years has not been added to the voter rolls.
ANIMAL CRUELTY: The Annapolis Capital editorial board would like to see a bill strengthening the animal cruelly laws passed. But the problem, the board writes, is the legislation will have to survive the House Judiciary Committee – otherwise known as the club for making sure life doesn’t get harder for Maryland’s defense bar.
MEDICAL POT: Is it for pleasure or pain? That’s the question state lawmakers are asking as they consider two bills that would lessen the jail time for people caught with marijuana.WJZ-TV’s Gigi Barnett takes a look at the issue.
DRINK TAX: Senate President Mike Miller expects the state to raise the alcohol tax, blogs the Post’s Aaron Davis. “But it’s going to be a modest raise,” he says.
KINGPIN POACHERS: Del. Herb McMillan of Annapolis wants to increase penalties for poachers with a proposal he’s dubbing a “kingpin poachers” bill, following the recent repeated discoveries of illegal fishing nets trapping 12 tons of rockfish,writes Pamela Wood of the Annapolis Capital.
SEPTIC BAN: If you didn’t catch his show last Thursday, here’s a link to Marc Steiner’s program on WEAA-FM. He and his panel talk about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s surprise proposal to ban the installation of septic systems in new developments. What would a ban mean economically and environmentally? His guests are Richard Hall, Maryland Secretary of Planning, Gail Bartkovich, of the Wicomico County Council and environmental reporter Tom Horton.
DRIVING WHILE: Stephanie Mlot and Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post take a close look at state lawmakers attempt to strengthen the ban on using cellphones while driving. Then Mlot looks at the attempt to close the loophole on reading texts while driving.
GPS & SEX OFFENDERS: The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times says that using GPS to track sex offenders is a good way to keep tabs on them and save the state money.
GROUND RENT LAW: The Court of Appeals has agreed to tackle a legal challenge to Maryland’s ground rent law brought by a man who lost a lawsuit over the 2007 requirement that ground rent owners register the land or lose the ground rent, writes the Sun’s Andrea Siegel.
NEGRO MOUNTAIN: The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz takes a look at the controversy surrounding the name of Garrett County’s Negro Mountain that has divided Baltimore legislators, who want to change it, and Garrett legislators who want to keep it.
FREDERICK INMATE FEES: The House Judiciary Committee has rejected a bill that would add and increase fees for inmates of the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, the Frederick News Post’s Aaron Messner reports.
NO TO NEW FEE: The Frederick County liquor board’s proposed $300 processing fee for new license applications was voted down Friday by the county’s state lawmakers, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.
EVALUATING DISABLED KIDS: A Woodsboro parent is seeking lawmakers’ help to change how Maryland measures the progress of severely developmentally disabled students, writes Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post.
EDUCATING ILLEGALS: Don Kornreich of the Frederick News Post opines that the state should use data on immigrant children to collect more federal funds for the education of all immigrant children, no matter their status.
O’MALLEY AT DGA: O’Malley made his first major address as the head of the Democratic Governors Association on Saturday night, using an annual fundraising dinner for Virginia Democrats to urge elected leaders to invest in education and infrastructure. The Sun’s Annie Linskey reports from Richmond.
O’Malley took swipes at the Republican governors, saying the “current crop of tea partying Republican governors … live in a different world.” He added, “The Republican governors’ tea party is more Mad Hatter than James Madison.” Linskey blogs in the Sun.
O’M FOR JUDGE O’M: Gov. O’Malley has formally nominated his wife, Judge Catherine Curran O’Malley, to a second term as a Baltimore District Court judge, the AP reports in the Daily Record.
ICC OPENING: The Post’s Katherine Shaver blogs about the opening of the ICC, set for tomorrow, and the debate over the merits of this new six-lane toll road, a multibillion-dollar road across fragile streams, a stone’s throw from hundreds of homes. Check out the video here by Ben de la Cruz. And here’s a map showing where the road ends and traffic problems are expected.
STATE FARM IS THERE: State Farm Insurance Cos. will pay the state $1.3 million to put more SHA yellow emergency vehicles on the road. In return, the state’s fleet of 52 yellow trucks will carry the State Farm logo and the company will advertise the helping-hand partnership, reports Ashley Halsey for the Post.
LIFE WITHOUT: In an interview with Sun columnist Dan Rodricks, former Gov. Parris Glendening reconsiders his “life means life” edict, saying that he made the parole process “much more political than it should be” and that he would “not have a problem” with a change in state law to remove the governor from the process.
JOCKEY REPORTS: The Maryland Jockey Club, owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, did not file required financial disclosures the past two years, making some legislators skeptical about whether subsidies are needed, especially since one of its partners has found money to buy Rosecroft harness track, writes Scott Daughtery for the Annapolis Capital.
CURBING ROCK SNOT: The state Department of Natural Resources plans to prohibit wading with felt soles starting March 21 to curb the spread of invasive organisms that can get trapped in the damp fibers and carried from one body of water to another, writes David Dishneau of the AP writes in the Washington Examiner.
ABOUT A COW: Eastern Shore resident Diana Waterman, newly elected First Vice Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, has angered some members of her party by having a black Angus cow named Oprah, blogs the Sun’s Annie Linskey.
Republican Sveinn Storm of Maryland Politics Watch suggests Waterman resign since the naming incident is “precisely why an enormous number of Americans view Republicans as racists.”
PRINCE GEORGE’S PALL: Former County Exec Jack Johnson’s indictment has cast a pall across Prince George’s, a predominantly black county known as a symbol of African American success. It is especially pronounced for those who put their faith in Johnson early on, like Henry Arrington, writes the Post’s Paul Schwartzman.
AA RX DELAYS: An Anne Arundel delegate is raising questions about the amount of time Anne Arundel Medical Center was unable to admit some patients last year after he received data showing the hospital led the state in such delays, Liam Farrell reports for the Capital.